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Sam Nunberg, a former Trump aide, said on Monday that he will refuse to comply with a subpoena issued by the federal grand jury convened by special counsel Robert Mueller III.
In back-to-back-to-back live, televised phone interviews with MSNBC and CNN on Monday afternoon, Nunberg called the demands for his emails and for him to testify before the grand jury “ridiculous.”
Nunberg was fired from Trump’s campaign in August 2015 after racist Facebook messages that he allegedly wrote surfaced. Nunberg told media outlets on Monday that he had been subpoenaed to provide documents to the grand jury and to appear in Washington, DC, on March 9 to testify before the grand jury.
“Screw that,” he told Gloria Borger on CNN. He later appeared on CNN a second time to talk with Jake Tapper.
Under federal court rules in criminal cases, a person who fails to obey a grand jury subpoena “without adequate excuse” can be held in contempt of court. Asked if he was worried about that, Nunberg told Katy Tur on MSNBC, “Let’s see what Mr. Mueller does.”
“I think it would be funny if they arrested me,” he said.
A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment on Nunberg’s comments. Nunberg did not immediately return a request for comment by BuzzFeed News.
Asked by Tur if he thought the special counsel’s office had “something on the president,” Nunberg replied, “I think they may.”
“I think he may have done something during the election. But I don’t know that for sure,” Nunberg said. Asked to elaborate, he said, “I can’t explain it unless you were in there.”
Nunberg called the grand jury’s requests for his emails with campaign and past and present White House officials — including former White House counselor Steve Bannon, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowksi, former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone, and outgoing White House communications director Hope Hicks — “ridiculous.”
He said he was “not a fan” of Trump — Trump “screwed” him and Stone over during the campaign, he said — but after going over the grand jury subpoena, he agreed with Trump’s assessment that the investigation was a “witch hunt.”
“Why do I have to spend 80 hours going over my e-mails? That I’ve had with Steve Bannon and with Roger Stone? Why does Bob Mueller need to see my e-mails when I send Roger and Steve clips and we talk about how much we hate people?” Nunberg said.
Nunberg said on MSNBC that he decided “a couple hours ago,” as he was going through his emails, not to comply with the subpoena. He told CNN’s Bolger that he had started going through his emails over the weekend, and that he was supposed to turn them in on Monday afternoon. He said he had not been contacted about the subpoena by the White House, Trump, any member of Trump’s legal team, Roger Stone, or Steve Bannon.
At another point in the interview with MSNBC, however, Nunberg said he hadn’t gone over his emails since he was contacted by the special counsel’s office. He didn’t say when he received the subpoena.
Last month, multiple news outlets reported that Nunberg would sit down with the special counsel’s office. On CNN on Monday afternoon, he confirmed that he had sat down with Mueller’s office, calling them “very professional.” On MSNBC, Tur asked Nunberg about the fact that last week he had said the Russia investigation was not a waste of time. He replied that receiving the subpoena had changed his mind.
Nunberg said he thought that his lawyer “is going to dump” him. Nunberg’s attorney Patrick Brackley did not immediately return a request for comment.
Nunberg said special counsel’s office investigators had asked if he heard people speaking Russian around Trump Tower and if he ever heard about efforts by the Trump Organization to develop a property in Moscow. In another interview on CNN, he said he’d never heard Russian spoken around Trump Tower.
“Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians! It is the biggest joke, to ever think Donald Trump colluded with the Russians,” Nunberg said.
He told CNN that investigators wanted him to say that Roger Stone was telling people that he was colluding with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Nunberg said that did not happen.
In a statement to CNN, Stone said, “I was briefly part of the Trump campaign and have been the President’s friend and adviser for decades; and would expect that Mueller’s team would at some point ask for any documents or emails sent or written by me. But let me reiterate, I have no knowledge or involvement in Russian Collusion or any other inappropriate.” A lawyer for Stone referred BuzzFeed News to the statement posted by CNN.
Nunberg has a reputation for bold pronouncements and occasional fictions. “Mueller is going to go over every financial dealing of Jared Kushner and the Trump Organization,” he told Vanity Fair after Mueller’s team indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. He said on MSNBC last month that he is “sure” Donald Trump, Jr. told his father about what happened during a meeting with Kremlin-connected officials, something the White House has denied. Just last week, he suggested to BuzzFeed News that Trump’s re-election campaign is no sure thing.
And last November, he admitted to Politico that he was the source of an anecdote in a The New Yorker story about former New Jersey governor Chris Christie fetching Trump McDonald’s. Nunberg told Politico he’d made up the story to dig at Christie. The New Yorker subsequently said he was not the source.
Matt Berman and Chris Geidner contributed to this report. This is a developing story. Check back for updates.